Eggplant Parmigiana Stacks

by Susan on September 26, 2011

A couple months ago I introduced you to these and shared my amazement that a veggie sandwich could be so hearty, delicious, and completely satisfying. The tale of this here eggplant parm boasts a similar theme.

Chicken parmigiana used to be one of our go-to meals, until my husband suggested we start subbing in eggplant for some of the chicken. Smart man! It didn’t take long to realize the eggplant version was better. It had deeper and richer flavor. Eggplant takes on a lot of delicious moisture (read: oil) when it’s pan fried. This helps to make the dish more decadent and balanced as it doesn’t require the heavy dose of tomato sauce that chicken parmigiana often does.

The problem was in the eggplant parmigiana’s traditional form – one slice of eggplant covered with sauce and melted mozzarella. It lacked heft. It not only looked meager, but we had to eat an entire large baking dish of it to feel satiated.

Enter the stack.

I tried layering the eggplant into a more lasagna / strata-like dish to excellent results. It took on a more rustic, appealing, and substantial aesthetic. But, it was still missing a little something-something.

Enter the ricotta cheese.

And viola, the ideal eggplant parm reincarnation was born.

I not only love how the individual stacks look, but using the slice of eggplant as your only workable surface promotes balance. There is less temptation to pour over a ton of sauce.

Play around with this idea to build your own strata or stack. This dish goes fabulously well with a simple green salad and some delicious bread. It can also be served as a side dish.

Eggplant Parmigiana Stacks
The recipe makes three, 3-layered, 6-inch long stacks. Good for a side dish for 4-6 or a main for 2-3.

1 large eggplant (or 2 smaller ones)
eggs, flour, and breadcrumbs for dredging
oil for frying
tomato or marinara sauce
ricotta cheese
mozzarella cheese, preferably whole milk

Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices. Flour, egg, and dredge in breadcrumbs.

Pan fry eggplant slices in oil until nicely browned on both sides. My husband, the master of pan frying, uses a blend of olive and vegetable oil.

Spread a small amount of sauce in the bottom of a pyrex or baking pan. You can even use a baking sheet.

Layer the eggplant followed by the sauce (just a thin layer to cover the surface area of the eggplant), then the ricotta (just smear it on with the back of a spoon or your fingers). At the top layer, I just do eggplant, sauce, and then the mozzarella.

Bake at 350 until warmed through, about 20 minutes.

Side note: When it’s in the oven you can clean up the frying mess. When dinner is done there will be almost nothing to do!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Leah September 26, 2011 at 5:20 pm

This looks amazing! I make a version of this for my family all the time.

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